STEM curriculum is based on the idea of teaching science, technology, engineering, and math in an integrated format with real-life applications. Across the country, there has been a push in developing students that are equipped with the knowledge and skills to enter the workforce in high demand careers many of which require proficiency in STEM competencies. According to the Department of Education, we know that only 16 percent of American high school seniors are proficient in math and interested in a STEM career. Motivating our students to study professions in science, technology, engineering, and math are imperative to meet the growing demand for well-prepared professionals and to keep our country in a top position of innovation.
Western School of Science and Technology is working hard to provide a quality STEM education for students in West Phoenix. Western exists to transform Maryvale by improving low-income west Phoenix students’ opportunities for advancement in the global technological economy by providing needed preparation for the academic rigors of college graduation leading to career success. What does this look like in the classroom? Spending time in Ms. Paul’s Engineering class, you see students designing their own projects, reflecting on their work, and initiating improvements. They think about what is working and what isn't. Students are problem solving in teams learning the necessary academic skills, and in addition, "soft skills" like communication, leadership, and interpersonal skills. There is a lot of deep thinking and problem solving happening in each class period.
Recently, The Warriors’ science, technology, engineering, and math (“STEM”) accomplishments received national recognition. Western: CFA is featured in the “Play Space: How We Play” Exhibition at the Center for Architecture in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, which “will showcase over 40 designs from cities around the world for outdoor play spaces that offer young children diverse experiences and opportunities for interacting, exploring, creating, and growing.” Western: CFA’s contribution, recognizing the “Building Warriors” program, highlighted students’ work designing, engineering, and building safe play structures on and around the Western: CFA campus. In addition, the “Building Warriors” program was featured in Teach For America’s national magazine, One Day, that highlighted students’ contribution to their community through design thinking and maker education. Kudos to STEM Program Director Allison Paul and our Building Warriors for their accomplishments!
Peter Boyle, Principal for Western School of Science and Technology
Tiffany Sandoval, Director of Operations for The Teacher Retention Project